Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baby names conversations

At Borders a couple of weeks ago:
Serene: So it says in this book that it's always iffy to name children after celebrities.
Jude: You mean like Benicio? I like Benicio.
Serene: Benicio Yew???
Jude: No, Benicio del Yew.
Serene: His last name is del Toro. I don't think del is part of his first name.
Jude: I like Benicio del. Or maybe Gus van.
Serene: as in Sant?
Jude: No, Gus van Yew.


Last night while falling asleep:
Serene: What about Liam if it's a boy?
Jude: But that's so Celtic. We're not English. And if it's a girl? Sinead?
Serene: Hahaha, or Siobhan.
Jude: And then they're going to join Riverdance?


I foresee naming our baby to be a long, painful, process... :) Coincidentally, Jude then found this article on BBC News today: 'Most unfortunate names revealed'.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Post-mortem

It was worth the wait. To hear two genuinely moving speeches that didn't sound too pre-rehearsed, tweaked, or edited. The rest of the Oscars had its moments, I have to admit- Tina Fey and Steve Martin should totally co-host next year's Oscars, I loved the Judd Apatow directed short with Seth Rogen and James Franco, and I hope everyone saw/heard Best Animated Short director Kunio Kato's a brilliant haiku of an acceptance speech (he thanked his pencil! And domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!) But our favorite new twist on the award ceremony was how they replaced the snippets of all the acting nominees' film with a tribute from past winners in the category. For the most part, it was a really nice touch, to be commended by the actors who had come before you, and to be given personal validation. We wondered if the past winners had written the tributes themselves; if they did, then you could tell for sure who who didn't seem to mean what they said (I'm talking to you Michael Douglas), and who did. Like Robert de Niro:
How did he do it? How for so many years did Sean Penn get all those jobs playing straight men? Being a movie star can get in the way of acting. But not for Sean. Sean Penn the actor loses himself in every role so we can discover a man named Sam, Mystic River Jimmy Markum, the surfer dude Spicoli, a dead man walking, and Harvey Milk. Sean brings the same commitment to his off-screen life; you see it when he campaigns for human rights, respectfully advises world leaders, and gently, gently reasons with the paparazzi. Tonight, it's important to be a great actor; in life, it's more important to be a great human being. That's my friend, Sean Penn.
-Robert de Niro's, 2009 Academy Awards

Sean Penn returned the gesture with an acceptance speech that had the perfect combination of graciousness, humor, self-awareness, gravitas, and political righteousness (especially in light of his role and the current status of Prop 8 in California):
You commie, homo-loving sons of a guns... I did not expect this. And I want to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me often. But I am touched by the appreciation and I hoped for it enough that I scribbled down the names in case you *were* commie, homo-loving sons of a guns. [thanks a bunch of people...] Finally, for those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think it's a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone. And there are these last two things, I'm very very proud to live in a country that is willing to elect an elegant man as president and a country who for all its toughness creates courageous artists and this is in great due respect to all the nominees. But courageous artists who despite a sensitivity that has sometimes brought enormous challenge, Mickey Rourke rises again and he is my brother. Thank you all very much.
-Sean Penn, acceptance speech, 2009 Academy Awards

In the nick of time...

This is probably the latest I've ever posted my Oscar choices for the year but it's a tradition this blog has maintained over the years, and so nothing, not even two naps, a pot-luck dinner, and more sleeping, is going to get in the way of me putting this up- even if it is an hour to the awards... Besides, this is one of the few years where we've watched most of everything that's been nominated so there's particular excitement in the outcome :)

Best Picture
* Slumdog Millionaire

Director
* Danny Boyle

Actor in a Leading Role
* Sean Penn

Actress in a Leading Role
* Kate Winslet
It's about time!

Actor in a Supporting Role
* Heath Ledger
As srah noted in one of her Facebook/Twitter updates, everyone in her Oscar pool chose Heath; if he doesn't win, there might be a worldwide riot...

Actress in a Supporting Role
* Penélope Cruz

Original Screenplay
* Wall-E
The fact that my favorite film of 2008 (and possibly my favorite animated movie ever, next to Tombstone for the Fireflies) wasn't nominated for Best Movie means that I'm going to root for it for almost every category it's nominated in.

Adapted Screenplay
* Slumdog Millionaire

Foreign Language Film
* The Class

Animated Feature
* Wall-E
Duh...

Original Score
* Slumdog Millionaire

Original Song
* 'Jai Ho'

Art Direction
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Cinematography
* Slumdog Millionaire

Costume Design
* The Duchess
For the past few years, I've gone with more iconic, understated fashion statements like in Atonement, but I've come to realize that when it comes to Costume Design, it's almost always what's most elaborate, most intricate.

Makeup
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Documentary Feature
* Man on Wire
For the first time in a long time, we've actually seen a nominee in this category and Man on Wire was beautiful. Elegiac because of the context of Philippe Petit's feat, but also a wonderful testimony to persistence, inspiration, and just the living out of one's dream.

Sound Mixing
* Wall-E

Sound Editing
* Wall-E
I know these are very unconventional choices and I've never had very much investment in the sound categories, but apart from the fact that I believe Wall-E should win everything it's nominated for, did you see the first 30 minutes of the movie? It's all about the sound, people!

Visual Effects
* The Dark Knight

Film Editing
* Frost Nixon

Short Film, Animated
* La Maison en Petits Cubes

Short Film, Live Action
* Manon on the Asphalt

Documentary Short Subject
* The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yew(s) are pregnant!- Part Deux

So as the dust settles from our little announcement, after receiving almost 150 congratulatory emails, messages, and comments (thanks everyone!), and having had our first doctor's appointment and coming to terms with the fact that yes, come August, there will be indeed someone else sharing our lives, I thought it probably is a good idea to share a little about how things have been evolving these past month or so. So Jude and I actually found out about the little kiddo on New Year's Day itself. It was a wonderful way to usher in 2009 :) First there was surprise (in an extremely good way of course...), then euphoria, and then a deep profound panic when I realized I had had a ridiculous amount of raw salmon and tuna sushi the night before. What if the baby ingested too much mercury from all that raw fish???!!! Then there was more panic at the thought that I would no longer be able to have coffee for the next eight months. Oh the agony... For Jude, it was more like, "OK, we so need to get some books..."

Since then, things have been slowly changing around the house. Our shopping habits are definitely different, for one- instead of scouring for earphones or music online, Jude's been looking at strollers and cribs instead. It's adorable, really... :) We're trying to be really good about the kinds of food we're buying so that I can eat healthy, although, that's been the biggest stumbling block so far. Not the eating healthy part, just eating at all. As Jude likes to say, I've been almost always hungry, but I actually feel little inclination to eat. Food just hasn't had the same allure these past months. What an irony... Oh, I'll eat because the baby needs to eat, but I haven't been deriving much pleasure from it. Honestly, if I could eat the fortified cereals from Trader Joe's or Kashi with milk for every meal, I would. And of course, there's the whole coffee thing. I haven't even been taking much decaf. I think I love coffee so much that going decaf is like some kind of infidelity... I'd rather go without it altogether than to compromise.

Physically, I've been completely fatigued out. It's getting better now, but initially, there were days when I actually took TWO naps, on top of a solid 8 hours of sleep at night! It felt overindulgent and almost ridiculous until someone put it in perspective for me that I'm making a person in my body- I am literally someone else's life support system and that's hard work! Besides, once the baby arrives, neither one of us will ever be able to get that much sleep again so I'd better savor that as much as I can now :)

Right now, it's just taking little tiny baby steps (pun FULLY intended...) towards preparing the house and ourselves for August- buying a new mattress, planning on how to reconfigure our house for baby furniture, registering for classes (because really, despite what many people think, no one is a born parent- it's a learning and growing process...), reading up on as much as we can (for both Mommies and Daddies), slowly buying some baby clothes, and leaning on the wonderful support of our family and friends who've been such lifesavers!! Thank you for all your warm wishes, advice, and recommendations- you guys are the awesomest best!

Right now, our baby's only the size of a peach (although it already has teeth, a spine, and this week, fingerprints!!) but it's already very real to us. When I heard its heartbeat this week, I thought my heart was going to burst and I almost starting crying...
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
-Elizabeth Stone

Friday, February 20, 2009

Interesting followup to Serene's Trader Joe's post

Just found this article on the Freakanomics blog about the owners of Trader Joe's:
So, let me ask those of you who fall into categories 2 and 3: Who owns Trader Joe’s?

1. Some great California family full of surfers and gardeners.

2. A small band of communal farmers in Oregon.

3. A huge German discount-grocery chain best known in the U.S. for no-glamor stores often located in marginal neighborhoods.

Yeah, it’s No. 3. The company is called Aldi and, though I’d seen one or two of its stores in the past, I didn’t even know it was a grocery store. Then I read this very interesting Wall Street Journal piece about the company’s ambitious new plan for the U.S., which calls for 75 new stores this year. The article claims that Aldi is so good at selling cheap goods that WalMart couldn’t compete with it in Germany.
I did a little more investigating about Aldi. Apparently, Aldi specializes in running low-cost, discount stores - mainly selling house brands - in marginal neighborhoods in the US. But in Germany, according to Aldi's wikipedia page, :
95% of blue-collar workers, 88% of white-collar workers, 84% of public servants and 80% of self-employed Germans shop at Aldi.
That's some market share!!!

Would it be safe to say that Trader Joe's has cornered 80% of the YUPPIE market? A lot of people we know shop at Trader Joe's. Do you? Let us know, it would be interesting to find out ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To love...

My Funny Valentine
Sweet Comic Valentine
You Make Me Smile With My Heart
You're Looks Are Laughable,
Unphotographable
Yet You're My Favorite Work Of Art
Is Your FigureLess Than Greek
Is Your Mouth A Little Weak
When You Open It To Speak
Are You Smart
Don't Change A Hair For Me
Not If You Care For Me
Stay Little Valentine Stay
Each Day Is Valentine's Day

-"My Funny Valentine", Chet Baker

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oldie but goodie...

So as you can see, dear readers, ghetto of our mind has reverted back to Blog Template #4. Blog Template #5, a.k.a. Birds on a Wire met an untimely demise when the header image disappeared on us. I suspect either the template designer deleted the image not knowing that people were using it or their image hosting account got deleted. I should have known better and saved the image on our own. But oh well, the pomegranates are still adorable I still love the fresh, clean aesthetic of the design. It was our longest running template so there has to be something enduring and endearing about it :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ode to Trader Joe's



I love this video so much it's ridiculous :) Everything we love about our wonderfully quirky favorite grocery store where we find all the stuff we need and then some we never knew we'd like but now adore. Things are always fresh, easy, healthy (most of the time), delicious, and most importantly, interesting. And often value for money too.

Things in the video that appear frequently in Jude and Serene's shopping cart:
- organic milk
- bread (we just discovered their naan and it's wonderful!)
- peanut butter filled pretzels
- chocolate covered nuts
- soup in cartons
- 2 buck Chucks (Charles Shaw wines)
- Thai Lime & Chili Cashews
- bananas sold singly (so we can buy just three if we wanted to...)
- peeled baby carrots (I never eat them whole but I'll chop them up into tiny pieces and throw them into stews or soups so I'll get the nutrition but I can't really see that they're there)
- Fuji apples
- Mochi ice-cream (mango, of course!)
- organic eggs
- cereal (because their cereal selection rocks!)
- $0.99/can tomatoes
- flavored lemonade
- Airbourne (nothing staves off an imminent cold/flu like this Vitamin C booster)
- mini watermelons (perfect for just two of us)

I could go on about our other favorite TJ products like their frozen Orange Chicken, guacamole, pear sauce, frozen tamales, pasta sauces, cheap cremini mushrooms and arugula salad, interesting simmer sauces like Chicken Marsala or Cacciatore, cheapest saffron anywhere, and so many many, much much more. And just like it is in the video, we never pass up the food samples, always take a small cup of their coffee or tea, and have had the handles of the TJ paper bags rip on us so many times, we now bring our own shopping bags. I have to say though, that the only time I've had problems finding a parking spot in the TJ's here was the day before Thanksgiving last year. And really, I should have known better...

What's your favorite thing about Trader Joe's? :)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Let the river run

Sometimes, nothing beats an old song to remind you that classics should always have a place in your playlist. By some quirk of the channel-surfing karma, I watched the last hour of Working Girl again yesterday after a really long time. It's all '80s in it's big-hair, shoulder-pads glory, and in a time when Harrison Ford still looked like he could play Indiana Jones without getting a cardiac arrest. The acting isn't the greatest-- least of all Melanie Griffith's-- but the last scene is worth it all.



I think it's the combination of how director, Mike Nichols pans out of her office into a panoramic view of the cityscape and Carly Simon's uplifting "Let the River Run". The song hits such a euphoric note that it gets me every time. The movie may be dated but the song definitely isn't. Moving, inspiring, and triumphant, it's a call to dare, to dream, to desire, to demand, and to declare.

Listen "Carly Simon let the river run"

Silver cities rise,
The morning lights
The streets that meet them,
And sirens call them on
With a song.

It's asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

We're coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

We the great and small
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark'ning dawn.
-Carly Simon, "Let the River Run"

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Coraline

Oooh! Oooh! Neil Gaiman! Stop-motion animation! Henry Selick! It's like The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Mathilda meets Alice in Wonderland!



And check out the most wonderfully delightful (albeit slightly macabre) website :)
You're about to enter a world where everything you'll see has been created by hand;
Like a forest of cherry blossoms made from painted popcorn;
500 handmade scottie dogs that fill an entire theatre;
And 3500 handcrafted flowers that all light up.
-Coraline website